Saturday, 12 March 2011

Chicken Dhansak

A quick post before I get down to studying (I can imagine Jewhurst rolling his eyes as I type...)

I made this last weekend the same day as the thai soup, but didn't blog it as I thought it would be a bit of blog overkill.

It is a Rosemary Conley recipe so low fat and low calorie, but absolutely DELICIOUS! I made the full batch and froze some, and it reheated no problem at all. Jewhurst dug in as well and loved it.

Rosemary Conley's Chicken Dhansak
(serves 4)

Heat a non stick frying pan then dry fry (I used some spray oil....don't tell RC) 2 diced onions and 2 minced garlic cloves. Add 2 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp fennel seed, 1 chopped red chilli, and the seeds from 4 crushed cardamom pods.

Add 3 diced breasts of chicken and seal the outside of the meat, seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pour in 600ml chicken stock, plus 1 - 2 tsp of chicken stock powder (I'm not entirely sure of the purpose of this... anyone?). Add 100g red lentils, and 2 tbsp of tomato puree.

Mix, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 mins until the sauce has thickened.

Serve with naan-bread and mango chutney (this is for the dieters, normal people can have rice)

So easy and so tasty.... enjoy!

Oooooh by the way, Big Eejit now has a Facebook page - come over and "like" it! :)

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Thai-inspired noodle soup

This is a Nigel Slater recipe from his first Simple Suppers series. I adore Nigel Slater, and I loved this series because it was so laid back and "do-what-you-want-it's-your-dinner"...

Today I had his thai-inspired noodle soup for lunch. I have to be honest (although you have probably already realised this) I am by no means a foodie. I love food, I love making food, I love eating food, I love watching other people make food. But I am a bit useless with it at times. So my recipe today comes to you with quite a few flaws (missing out a key ingredient being the biggest one). Also, I have no measurements or quantities because Nigel didn't give them. This is very much a matter of personal taste.

Nigel Slater's Thai-inspired Noodle Soup
(key ingredients in bold italics)

I started off by coating a chicken breast in Five Spice seasoning and grilling it in my George Foreman. Once it was cool I chopped it up and set it to one side.

Next I put some rice noodles in a bowl, broke them up a bit, and immersed them in boiling water. I covered the bowl with cling film as well to keep the steam in.

I then made a paste of lemongrass, ginger, garlic and red chilli - mixed with some sunflower oil. I put this in my wok and fried it with some ground tumeric and ground coriander.

I added chicken stock and brought it to a simmer, then some coconut milk. I then tasted it (always ALWAYS taste your food while you are cooking!) and it tasted a bit bland, so I added some nam pla (fish sauce). Then it tasted too salty, so I added a sprinkling of sugar. This tasted divine - a real spicy sweetness.

I reduced the liquid down a bit, then drained the noodles and put them in a bowl. I poured the soup over the noodles, and stirred through the cooked chicken.

It was absolutely delicious. There are a few things I should note though:
  1. I would remember coriander. I forgot to buy it and I wasn't about to traipse out to Asda to get it. But it is such a distinctive Asian flavour - the dish wasn't lacking without it, but having it would certainly make it better
  2. I cooked some chicken especially for this, but Nigel actually used prawns in his recipe (bleurgh) and I guess any leftover chicken would be fine as well. Or go without.
  3. I would perhaps add a little lime juice or zest, just to give a bit of sharpness to cut through the creamy coconut milk
  4. I'm not sure if grilling my chicken in Five Spice seasoning added to the flavour or over powered it
Now, this is where I am going to be a bit cheeky and lay down a challenge. I have a couple of foodie blogs that I follow both on here and Twitter - namely Beth at JamandCream, Mrs M, and Granny. In addition I know I have a few followers who like cooking, and my best friend and faithful follower Nommers also makes this quite a lot.

Here is my challenge - make this recipe and tell me how you did it. What did you do differently? Did you like it? Give me your general thoughts in the comment box below, or if you are the blogging type blog about it and let me know. I know you are all busy, but if you have a spare evening and feel like humouring me then give this a go :)

Happy Saturday!